Smart Decision 2014: Amendment 9 - Electronic Communications

Posted: Aug 4, 2014 12:26 PM by Beth Anne Carroll, KOMU 8 Reporter
Updated: Aug 5, 2014 12:38 AM

Rating: 0.0 (0 votes)

COLUMBIA - One of the constitutional amendments Missourians will vote on August 5 would add electronic data communications to the list of items protected from search and seizure.

See opposing arguments. See supporting arguments.

The ballot language states: "Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended so that the people shall be secure in their electronic communications and data from unreasonable searches and seizures as they are now likewise secure in their persons, homes, papers and effects?"

Under the amendment, investigators and law enforcement would need search warrants to gain access to a person's text messages, e-mails and any personal accounts.

Such measures have become common throughout the United States, in part as a result of the disclosure of National Security Agency documents by Edward Snowden, sparking discussions of online and electronic privacy.

Sen. Rob Schaaf (R-St. Joseph) sponsored the measure with Sen. Bob Dixon (R-Greene County) in the Missouri Senate. If approved, the measure will amend Section 15 of Article 1.

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that police cannot search digital information on a cell phone seized from an individual who has been arrested without a warrant. However, the Missouri measure includes laptops and communications rather than just cellphones.

SUPPORT FOR AMENDMENT NINE (See opposing arguments.)

Many groups have shown support for the measure, including Protect our Privacy, the ACLU of Missouri, the Consitution Party of Missouri and United for Missouri. In the Missouri House of Representatives, the measure received 114 "yes" votes and only 28 "no" votes.

Rep. Paul Curtman (R-Pacific) helped shepherd the measure through the House. He said passing the amendment would be a big step, not only for the privacy of Missourians, but also for the rest of the country.

"I think it's important for the Missouri voters because I think that we have a state government that's not as mindful of the security of the people's data as maybe they need to be," Curtman said. "So it's good for Missouri citizens, but it's also going to be good to help send a message to the federal government and to other states that the people of Missouri and the people of other states are really speaking out on this and very much want the governments to respect our inherent rights to privacy and respect our reasonable expectation of privacy."

Curtman said the measure simply supports a basic right.

"One thing that Americans have in common is the value of our freedom and our privacy and right to privacy is definitely part of that."

In its voter guide on the measure, The League of Women Voters said, "Proponents say the amendment is a logical extension of existing protections from unwarranted searches and seizures. They believe electronic data should be protected as well. They say unless there is evidence of criminal activity, they have concerns about the increased tracking of cell phone information and other private electronic data."

OPPOSITION FOR AMENDMENT 9(See supporting arguments.)

While no organized opposition has formed against Amendment 9, some critics of the measure say it has drawbacks, especially when it comes to its impact on law enforcement.

A member of the Boone County Sheriff's Department's Cyber Crimes Task Force said the bill's language could cause confusion as to what officers can legally search without a warrant.

"From what I've kind of looked at, the wording on that, it's not going to effect us any, but the verbage, I believe, is electronic communication and it's kind of broad," Tracy Perkins, a sheriff's department detective, said. "So, those words, I mean, everybody has their own interpretation of what it means. So it could, if other people look at it differently. That's the only problem I see."

Perkins also said the amendment won't necessarily change anything because most officers already get search warrants before searching now.

"Anything that has personal data on it, we automatically get a search warrant for that. Obviously, if we don't have the written permission from that owner or we have the search warrant. But we've been doing that ever since we've had the cyber crimes unit and most law enforcement are doing that, they're already adhering to that," Perkins said.

  • News

    MO lawmakers question Nixon's response to Syrian refugees

    MO lawmakers question Nixon's response to Syrian refugees

    Posted 6:52 PM 11/28/2015 by The Associated Press

    JEFFERSON CITY (AP) - Missouri lawmakers are set to question officials in Gov. Jay Nixon's administration on how the state spends money to help refugees.

    The Legislature recently set the Monday hearing in response to deadly attacks in Paris and criticism of Nixon's decision not to (More)

  • News

    Jefferson City woman develops anti-bullying organization

    Jefferson City woman develops anti-bullying organization

    Posted 4:38 PM 11/28/2015 by Emma Balkenbush, KOMU 8 Reporter

    JEFFERSON CITY - Natasha Johnson started the group, Show Me-Just and Caring Communities, in 2013 and is now beginning to develop the group further. 

    Johnson started the anti-bully group with another parent after learning about a middle school student who had committed suicide after (More)

  • News

    Community organizations help youth homeless prepare for future

    Posted 2:44 PM 11/12/2015 by Caileigh Peterson, KOMU 8 Reporter

    COLUMBIA- November is National Homeless Youth Awareness Month and organizations in the community are working to find ways to help homeless youth succeed in their future.

    According to The (More)

  • News

    Man arrested after multiple car chases in stolen cars

    Posted 3:29 PM 11/28/2015 by Taylor Stevens, KOMU 8 Reporter

    BOONE COUNTY - The Missouri State Highway patrol arrested the man responsible for two high speed chases in Boone and Audrain counties Saturday afternoon.

    The Boone County Sheriff's Department said the initial call reported a suspicious incident, in which the suspect knocked on the (More)

  • Adv. - more news below

  • News

    Cause of Thanskgiving Sedalia fire cannot be determined

    Cause of Thanskgiving Sedalia fire cannot be determined

    Posted 2:18 PM 11/28/2015 by The Associated Press

    SEDALIA (AP) — The cause of a fire that destroyed three Sedalia homes on Thanksgiving Day isn't known.

    Sedalia Fire Department Battalion Chief Matt Irwin says the cause couldn't be determined because of "the complexity of the house." The Sedalia Democrat reports that heavy smoke (More)

  • News

    Millions of cars traveling without spare tires

    Posted 1:00 PM 11/28/2015 by Taylor Stevens, KOMU 8 Reporter

    JEFFERSON CITY - Thanksgiving weekend is one of the busiest in terms of drivers on the road, but about 29 million of those vehicles aren't equipped with a spare tire. New data from AAA shows that more than one third of 2015 vehicles on the road are missing spare tires. In most of those (More)

  • News

    Christmas trees are headed to Governor's Mansion

    Christmas trees are headed to Governor's Mansion

    Posted 4:19 AM 11/28/2015 by The Associated Press

    JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — The Governor's Mansion is about to look a little more festive.

    The Christmas trees that will adorn the Jefferson City mansion are arriving Monday morning. The outside tree is a 30-foot Norway spruce that came from the yard of a Washington resident. Also (More)

  • Your View

    Your View: KOMU 8 answers comments on campus protests reports

    Posted 2:58 PM 11/27/2015 by Nick Komisar & Amy Money, KOMU 8 Reporters

    COLUMBIA - The moment the MU football team announced on Twitter that it wasn't going to play until former UM Systems President Tim Wolfe resigned, the Concerned Student 1950 movement was thrust into the national spotlight. A photo was tweeted by some members of the team locking arms, with (More)

  • Adv. - more news below

  • News

    Sedalia fire brings community together

    Posted 3:08 PM 11/27/2015 by Annisa Budiman, KOMU 8 Reporter

    SEDALIA - The Sedalia community has come together after a fire that destroyed three homes Thursday and damaged another.

    Sedalia Mayor Steven Galliher said the first thing that went through his mind (More)

  • News

    Authorities say deputies shot, killed man in Stone County

    Authorities say deputies shot, killed man in Stone County

    Posted 1:52 PM 11/27/2015 by The Associated Press

    BRANSON (AP) — Authorities say deputies have killed a man who shot his wife and pointed a handgun at the deputies.

    KOLR-TV reports that 58-year-old Rick Gullickson was killed early Friday at a home in southern Stone County. The Stone County Sheriff's Department said (More)

KOMU First Alert Weather

Most Popular Right Now

Select a station to view its upcoming show schedule: KOMU 8 CW Mid-Missouri's CW

Coming Up Next

12:32 amOpen House NYC
1:02 amOpen House NYC
1:30 amThe Insider

Tonight's Schedule

6:00 pmFootball Night in America
7:20 pmSunday Night Football

Coming Up Next

12:30 amRaising Hope
1:00 amRaising Hope
1:30 amElizabeth Stanton's Great Big World

Tonight's Schedule

7:00 pmThe Code
9:00 pmKOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30 pmCougar Town